Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Suez Canal Chief, IMO SecGen Discuss Current Developments in Red Sea

Fri 26 Jan 2024 | 07:07 AM
Taarek Refaat

General Osama Rabie, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) held a virtual meeting with Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), to discuss developments in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab and its repercussions on the canal, and the global shipping.

Discussions also included mechanisms for cooperation and joint work to reduce the effects of the crisis on global supply chains and maritime freight traffic.

Rabie expressed his aspiration for continued cooperation and joint coordination with the IMO and the resulting initiatives and recommendations that are in the interest of the international maritime community, especially initiatives aimed at preserving the environment and reducing harmful carbon emissions emanating from vessels.

He stressed that the current situation threatens to exacerbate the volume of harmful carbon emissions as ships consume more fuel when they take alternative routes and sail for longer distances.

“Rabie” said that the authority provides savings in time and distance compared to alternative routes, which contributes to reducing fuel consumption by rates ranging from 10 to 90%, according to the ports of arrival and arrival, and results in reducing harmful carbon emissions.

Rabie added that the Suez Canal contributed to reducing carbon emissions by 55.4 million tons during the year 2023, achieving a saving in fuel consumption of 16.9 million tons.

He pointed out that navigation on the canal is regular and has not stopped at all, even for a single day, since the outbreak of the crisis, as it continues to provide its navigation services normally, in parallel with the authority’s continued efforts to support its customers to reduce the impact of the current crisis.

Rabie explained that the new package of navigational and maritime services provided by the Suez Canal Authority did not exist before, such as refueling services, marine ambulance, marine rescue, pollution control, repair and maintenance of ships at the authority’s arsenals, and other services that passing ships may need in normal and emergency circumstances.

He confirmed that the Suez Marine Shipyard Company, affiliated with the Authority, is carrying out maintenance and repair of the bulk ship “ZOGRAFIA” after it was attacked in the Red Sea.

On his part, Dominguez stressed his keenness to strengthen joint cooperation relations with the Suez Canal Authority, appreciating the efforts made by it in achieving effective communication with all those concerned with the maritime transport market as a necessary approach to identifying what owners and operators ships need and guarantees to ensure safe passage through the Suez Canal.

The Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization said that the current situation in the Red Sea region imposes many challenges on the global trade movement and the maritime transport market, in addition to its negative effects on the Suez Canal and the ports in the region.

Dominguez stressed that the IMO supports freedom of navigation and calls for calm in the Red Sea region. It is also working to provide full support for the Suez Canal by sending a clear message to all its members that navigation in the Suez Canal is still open to everyone, especially in light of the logistical and security challenges that is faced by ships that resort to detouring the Cape of Good Hope route, as well as the environmental challenges posed by the this route as it is an unsustainable for shipping traffic due to its lack of services.